It’s a clear morning, and it’s cool. There are no clouds in the sky, except for thin ones low on the horizon, sitting behind the trees like mist. A crow calls. Bugs hum and chirp in the branches, making the air vibrate with sound, a reminder that it is in fact still summer, though it is beginning to feel like autumn.

2.

Been thinking a lot lately about how we let other people define us. Someone recently said to me, “don’t let them have that kind of power over you.”

Don’t let that one person decide if you are good or bad at something. Don’t let that one person decide the trajectory of your whole life.

There are 7.9 billion people on the planet. Just one shouldn’t be able to tell you who you are.

3.

So, if you’ve been keeping an eye on your calendar (or perhaps you live freely unrestricted by time), you may notice that November is coming up fast. Less than three months to be not very exact.

Which means NaNoWriMo is on the horizon.

(I feel like when I say that word for the first time every year an alarm bell should go off or confetti should fall or emergency protocols be activated. Something.)

I’m sort of piddling with thoughts of what I want to do, but also trying to juggle querying soon (again), finishing editing a novel (that I will be querying), and there’s another novel that needs to be edited, and….yeah.

It made me think of how to know what story to start, or knowing when a story is ready to start, or knowing what to work on next.

Something any artist really struggles with: what project comes next? What project needs my focus?

If you’re contracted to do something, that makes it easier. Sometimes a particular goal in mind can help (like for me, getting an agent. I know what novels I want to lead querying with). But sometimes you’re just sitting there with all doors open. Blank paper, empty Word Docs that can be filled with anything you want.

Or can they?

Maybe that’s where we get so lost, so stuck in trying to decide. All options seem open, but they’re not. You can’t write what you can’t write.

All doors open isn’t the easiest. Too many options leave us stranded, standing in the overstocked toothpaste aisle, just wanting something that will clean our teeth and not taste like sand.

But maybe there aren’t that many doors open as we think. Maybe all options aren’t on the table. We can’t do what we can’t do and we can’t want what we don’t want. So that narrows it down a bit.

You can’t just start writing any story, it has to be the one.

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